When it comes time to renovate your home, cutting corners is not an option—so finding a qualified contractor is a must. But how do you find an experienced and reliable contractor who can ensure your project runs smoothly and within budget?
Here we’ll outline seven steps you can take to find and hire a trusted contractor who will get the job done.
Before you begin your project, make sure you have a clear idea of how exactly you want to renovate your home. This may sound obvious, but some homeowners hire contractors, agree on designs, and then request changes during or after construction.
This can lead to a project that’s over budget, takes longer than expected, or doesn’t even get finished. So it’s good to think of everything in advance to prevent surprises down the road. To get a clearer picture, don’t be afraid to ask your contractors some essential questions: What is the payment schedule? Have you done work in this area before? Will my project have a dedicated team?
Did your neighbor just get their roof replaced? The family down the road, did they update their siding? If the end result looks good, consider asking them for their contractor's contact information.
It’s always good to ask others for references, and while you may turn to family and friends, they might not live in your neighborhood or even your county. Take a drive around town and see who’s recently had work done. Most homeowners are happy to share their opinion of contractors, especially if they had a good experience.
To bolster your neighbor’s reviews, check out their recommendations online to see what others have to say. The internet has made it easy to rate and review products and services, with plenty of renovation/home project-focused review sites like Angie's List, Yelp, HomeAdvisor, or Thumbtack.
You might be able to see pricing as well on these sites, so you can get a better sense of your project’s cost and take the surprise out of the estimate process.
When you begin looking for a contractor, you’ll hear a lot of people say “Get at least three estimates.” The only problem with that is you might feel you’re not getting the full picture of what’s available to you.
We recommend getting as many estimates from as many contractors as you see fit so you can feel comfortable making a decision. That could mean you look at one and it’s an immediate hit! Or you sift through 10. Either way is fine and there’s no wrong way to do it.
When your selection of contractors comes to you with estimates, there is some room for negotiation but not a lot. One way to successfully negotiate a lower estimate is to focus on the supplies needed. If you offer to purchase and source materials on your own, you can save time and money.
Additionally, when you see all of those estimates next to each other, the obvious choice might be to go with the cheapest contractor. But beware—an unusually low bid may indicate that a contractor uses sub-par materials, cuts corners, or is unlicensed or uninsured.
Everyone has heard horror stories. A homeowner dissatisfied with a contractor's work has to chase them through the court system to recoup money lost for a poor or incomplete job. Small home reno businesses can easily close-up shop after a large lawsuit and reopen under a new name a few months later. Avoid running into these types of contractors by choosing ones that have been in the business for years or even decades.
With just a few smartphone photos, the HOVER app will create an interactive 3D model of your home. Some of your potential contractors might send you a link to see the HOVER rendering of your home’s renovations. If not, we recommend downloading the app yourself to use our technology to visualize your project and share ideas effortlessly with your chosen contractor.
More than just testing different shingles or siding options, our smart phone app also makes it easy for your contractor to develop estimates of roofing and complex siding projects. Accurate measurements are pulled from the photos taken to create precise estimates to help build trust and transparency between you and your contractor before the project starts. Sign up for free and see the possibilities for yourself.